Declan Rice made one of the most significant moves in British football history over the summer, completing a £100m club-record transfer from West Ham United to Arsenal, matching the previous British transfer record set by Jack Grealish when he joined Manchester City from Aston Villa in the summer of 2021.
What’s remarkable is that there’s little talk about the hefty price tag, which is typically a hot topic with such high-value transfers. This contrasts with discussions surrounding other transfers like Mykhailo Mudryk and Moises Caicedo at Chelsea.
Former Premier League defender Rio Ferdinand, in text messages he shared, personally commended Rice for the lack of attention on his transfer fee, highlighting it as a testament to his outstanding performances for Arsenal.
Ferdinand, having experienced the pressure of a big price tag himself with his moves to Leeds and later Manchester United, understands the scrutiny that accompanies such high-profile transfers.
Declan Rice impressing at Arsenal already
Declan Rice has seamlessly integrated into life at Arsenal and swiftly become one of their standout performers. He has been a consistent presence in both Premier League and Champions League matches, even delivering a dramatic 96th-minute winning goal against Manchester United in September.
Rice’s absence in a midfield clash against Tottenham Hotspur exposed Arsenal’s vulnerabilities, emphasizing his significance to Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Rice’s impact at the Emirates Stadium stands in stark contrast to other £100m signings like Grealish, Enzo Fernandez, and Caicedo, who have faced challenges settling into their new clubs or continue to do so.
Arsenal brought Rice on board with the expectation that he would have a star-player impact, particularly in high-pressure situations as they aim to contend for titles this season.
The recent game against Manchester City was a prime example of this as Arsenal struggled somewhat in the first half before taking the figurative bull by the horns and completely shut down Manchester City in the second half. Rice played a very important role in this as his two tackles and four ground duels won were vital to disrupting City’s offensive capabilities. Additionally, his ability to run with the ball at his feet helped the Gunners out of danger on more than one occasion.
Video: Declan Rice’s text message to Rio Ferdinand
When talking about the England international on the latest episode of ‘Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE‘, Ferdinand revealed the text message exchange he had with Rice the morning after Arsenal beat Manchester City. He said: “You know what, I text Declan this morning and just said testament to you, that no one’s talking about the price tag. And his response was absolutely bang on. Declan said: ‘Come on, I was doing the same thing at West Ham, Ri, and no one wanted to speak about it.’”
Again, it is a testament to his character that he has not allowed the big money move get to him, continuing to perform at a genuinely world-class level, potentially in a world-class team.